Years ago, IT departments regarded social media sites and tools with only a small degree of alarm, but now such departments are beginning to realize that they may have cause to implement serious IT solutions that will help manage how employees access social media in the workplace. Social media has the potential to disrupt workflow and compromise the security of a system. When few people dabbled in it and many fewer social media tools were available, it presented a low level of risk - but that is no longer the case.
Workstations, whether virtual or physical, are usually secured when they are part of a business organization. This means that the average employee is not able, for example, to install a new software suite without involving IT personnel. Social media platforms, on the other hand, are so heavily web-based that they can often be launched and deployed without anyone in the IT department being involved or even informed.
The Power of Collaboration
Although IT departments could take steps to shut down social media access, this is not always in the company's best interest, either. Research has demonstrated that collaboration online through services such as Google Docs is a powerful business tool that helps employees work more efficiently and perhaps more importantly, achieve ‘synergy’, which is the added value produced by working in teams. Yet online collaboration tools that expose IP addresses are potential security hazards.
The solution may be social networking platforms that are set up and controlled internally. Such platforms are available from several third-party vendors. Organizations should discuss the pros and cons with a skilled IT consulting firm.